Fire-adapted traits of threatened shrub species in riparian refugia: Implications for fire regime management

Date: 10, Dec, 2020
Author(s):   Tom Le Breton, Mark Ooi
Publisher: TSR Hub

Australian plant species can require particular seasons, intensities or frequencies of burns to maintain healthy populations. It is important for conservation managers to understanding the fire needs and tolerances of plant species they are seeking to conserve. We undertook research to fill knowledge gaps about the fire needs of three threatened species of native Pomaderris shrub: P. adnata, P. bodalla and P. walshii. We found that high temperatures typical of higher severity fire maximised the germination of each species, without reducing the viability of seeds. All species also had persistent soil seed banks. These Pomaderris species principally occur in riparian zones, which typically experience less fire than surrounding areas and often feature plants that are less adapted to fire. We recommend that a regime involving occasional higher-severity fires, combined with long non-fire intervals, will benefit the long-lived Pomaderris populations while minimising impacts on the broader riparian ecosystems. This factsheet summarises findings from: Le Breton T.D., Natale S., French K., Gooden B., Ooi M.K.J. (2020) Fire-adapted traits of threatened shrub species in riparian refugia: implications for fire regime management. Plant Ecology 221, 69-81.